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Presidential Debate

Series/Special. Jim Lehrer. (2012) The presidential candidates' discussion of issues takes place at the University of Denver; Jim Lehrer moderates; analysis follows. New.

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02:00:00

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Virtual Ch. 130 (Fox Business)

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Us 26, Jim 12, Massachusetts 10, Neil 5, Jim Lehrer 5, Obama 5, Romney 4, Donald Trump 4, Spain 3, United States 3, Cleveland 3, China 3, Denver 3, Mitt Romney 3, Ronald Reagan 3, Bill Clinton 3, Joe Biden 2, Portman 2, Washington 2, Nancy Pelosi 2,
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  FOX Business    Presidential Debate    Series/Special. Jim Lehrer.  (2012) The presidential  
   candidates' discussion of issues takes place at the University of...  

    October 3, 2012
    9:00 - 10:59pm EDT  

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momentum cold. i think he had a chance at a close race. neil: that's when he made the mistake saying poland was under communism domination. >> yeah. neil: is it the gaffe that hurts more or the zinger that helps more? >> i think the gaffe hurts more. decaucus, the question up there about his wife possibly being rained and murdered and cape a disposition on capital punishment. i agree with you. george hw bush was eight points ahead of them anyhow. neil: you might be right. that confirmed an impression that some rightly or wrongly that michael was too academic, too distant, too aloof. that was then, this is now. pat, my friend, thank you as always. pat buchanan in washington. we're a minute away from the formal start of this. for those of you tuning it,
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fbn's live coveragement first of the four debates. three presidential, one vice presidential debate. 50 million people expected to watch the exchange between the presidential candidates. early estimate numbers are 45 million, a minimum, watching on fox business, and who can blame them? ijim is seated, ready to go, and much of the pressure is on mitt romney, you hear, a guy on swing states is down, although gnarlly, the two -- nationally, the two are even. much is made of whether the polls are reliable, but it is a fair, fair argument to sigh -- say for each, tonight is crucial. i bring you the first presidential debate from the university of denver. >> good evening from the arena at the university of denver in denver, colorado. i welcome you to the first of
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the 2012 presidential debates between president barack obama, the democrat nominee, and former massachusetts governor, mitt romney, the republican nominee. this debate and the next three, two presidential, one vice presidential, are sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. tonight's 90 minutes will be about domestic issues, and it will follow a format designed by the commission. there will be six, roughly 15 minute segments with two minute answers segment. thousands of people offered suggestions on segment subjects or questions via the internet and other means, but i made the final selections, and for the record, they were not submitted for approval to the commission or the candidates. the segments, as i announced in
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advance, will be three on the economy and one each on health care, the role of government and governing with an emphasis throughout on differences, specifics and choices. both candidates will also have two-minute closing statements. the audience here in the hall has promised to remain silent. no cheers, applause, boos, hiss among other noisy, distracting things so we may all concentrate on what the candidates have to say. there is a noise exception right now, though, as we welcome president obama and governor romney. [applause]
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[applause] >> jim. >> moderator: yesman, welcome to you both. let's start with the economy, segment one, and let's begin with jobs. what are the major differences between the two of you about how you would go about creating new jobs? you have two minutes, each of you have two minutes to start. a coin toss has determined, mr. president, you go first. obama: thank you very much, jim, for this opportunity, i want to thank governor romney and the university of denver for your hospitality. there are a lot of points i want to make tonight, but 20 years ago i became the luckiest man on earth because michelle obama agreed to marry me, so i just want to wish, sweetie, you happy an rers ri and let you know a
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year from now we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people. [laughter] four years ago we went through the worst financial be crisis since the great depression. the financial system had frozen up, and because of the resilience and the determination of the american people, we've begun to fight our way back. over the last 30 months, we've seen five million jobs in the private sector created. the auto industry's come roaring back, and housing has begun to rise. but we all know that we've still got a lot of work to do, and so the question here tonight is not where we've been, but where we're going. governor romney has a perspective that says if we cut taxes, skew towards the wealthy and roll back regulations that we'll be better off. i've got a different view. i think we've got to invest in education and training. i think it's important for us to
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develop new sources of energy here in america, that we change our tax code to make sure that we're helping small businesses and companies that are investing here in the united states, that we take some of the money that we're saving as we wind down two wars to rebuild america. and that we reduce our deficit in a balanced way that allows us to make these critical investments. now, it ultimately is going to be up to the voters, to you, which path we should take. are we going to double down on the top-down economic policies that helped to get us into this mess, or do we embrace a new economic patriotism that says america does best when the middle class does best? and i'm looking forward to having that debate. >> moderator: governor romney, two minutes. romney: thank you, jim. i'm pleased to be at the university of denver, appreciate their welcome and also the presidential commission on these debates. and congratulations to you, mr. president, on your anniversary. i'm sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine, here with me.
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[laughter] so congratulations. this is, obviously, a very tender topic. i've had the occasion over the last couple of years of meeting people across the country. i was in dayton, ohio, and a woman said i've been out of work since may, can you help me? ann yesterday was at a rally in ten very, and a woman came up to her with a baby in her arms and said, ann, my husband has had four jobs in three years, part-time jobs. he's lost his most recent job, and we have now just lost our home. can you help us x. the answer is, yes, we can help. but it's going to take a different path. not the one we've been on, not the one the president droibs as a top- describes as a top-down cut taxes for the rich. that's not what i'm going to do. my plan has five basic parts. one, get us energy independent. that creates about four million jobs. number two, open up more trade -- particularly in latin america, crack down on china if
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and when they cheat. number three, make sure our people have the skills they need to succeed and the best schools in the world. number four, get us to a balanced budget. number five, champion small business. it's small business that creates the jobs in america, and over the last four years small business people have decided that america may not be the place to open a new business because new business start-ups are town -- down to a 30-year low. i know what it takes to hire people, to get small business growing again. i'm concerned the path we're on has been unsuccessful. the president has a view very similar to the view he had four years ago, that a bigger government, spending more, taxing more, regulating more, if you will, trickle-down government would work. that's not the right answer for america. i'm restore the vitality that gets america working again. thank you. >> moderator: mr. president, please respond directly to what the governor just said about trickle down. his trickle-down approach.
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he said yours is. obama: let me talk specifically about what i think we need to do. first, we've got to improve our education system, and we've made enormous progress drawing on ideas both from democrats and republicans that are already starting to show gains in some of the toughest to deal with schools. we've got a program called race to the top that has prompted reforms in 46 states around the country, raising standards, improving how we train teachers. so now i want to hire another 100,000 new math and science teachers and create two million more slots in our community colleges so people can get trained for the jobs that are out there right now. and i want to make sure we keep tuition low for our young people. when it comes to our tax code, governor romney and i both agree or corporate tax rate is too high, so i want to lower it -- particularly for manufacturing, taking it down 25% -- but i also
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want to close those loopholes that are giving incentives for companies shipping jobs overseas. i want to provide tax breaks for those investing here in the united states. on energy, governor romney and i both agree that we've got to boost american energy production, and oil and natural gas production are higher than they've been in years. but i also believe that we've got to look at the energy source of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels, and make those investments. so all of this is possible. now, in order for us to do it, we do have to close our deficit, and one of the things we'll be discussing tonight is how do we deal with our tax code and how do we make sure that we are reducing spending in a responsible way, but also how do we have enough revenue to make those investment, and this is where there's a difference because governor romney's central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut on top of the extension of the bush tax cuts and military spending that
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the military hasn't asked for. that's $8 trillion. how we pay for that, reduce the deficit and make the investments we need to make without dumping those costs onto middle class americans, i think, is one of the central questions of this campaign. >> both of you have spoken about a lot of different things, and we're going to try to get through them in as specific a way as we possibly can. governor romney, do you have a question that you'd like to ask the president directly about something he just said? romney: well, i'd like to go through it piece by piece. first of all, i don't have a $5 trillion tax cut. i don't have a tax cut of the scale you're talking about. my view is we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class, but i'm not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. they're doing just fine in this economy, they'll do fine whether you're president or i am. the people who are having a hard time right now are middle income americans. under the president's policies, middle income americans have been buried. they're just being crushed. middle income americans have seen their income come down by
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$4,300. this is a, this is a tax in and of itself. i'll call it the economy tax. it's been crushing. at the same time, gasoline prices have doubled under the president, electric rates are up, food prices are up, health care costs have gone up by $2500 a family, middle income families are being crushed, so the question is how to get them going again, and i've described it. it's energy, trade, the right kind of training program, balancing our budget and helping small his. those are the cornerstones of my plan. but the president mentioned education. i agree, education is key, particularly the future of our economy. but our training programs right now, we've got 47 of them housed in the federal government reporting to eight different agencies. overhead is overwhelming. we've got to get those dollars back to the states and go to the workers so they can create their own pathways to get in the training they need for jobs that will really help them. the second area, taxation.
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we agree, we ought to bring the tax rates down, and i do both for corporations and for individuals. but in order for us not to lose revenue and have the government run out of money, i also lower deductions and credits and exemptions so we keep take anything the same money when you also account for growth. the third area, energy. energy is critical, and the president pointed out correctly that production of oil and gas in the u.s. is up. but not due to his policies. in spite of his policies. mr. president, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. on government land your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half. if i'm president, i'll double them and also get the oil from offshore and alaska, and i'll bring that pipeline in from canada. and by the way, i like coal. i'm going to make sure we can continue to burn clean coal. people in the coal industry feel like it's getting crushed by your policies. i want to get america and north
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america energy independent so we can create jobs. and finally, with regards to that tax cut, look, i'm not looking to cut massive taxes and reduce the revenues going to the government. my number one principle is there'll be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. want to underline that, no tax cut that adds to the deficit. but i do want to reduce the burden being paid by middle income americans. and to do that, that also means i cannot reduce the burden paid by high-income americans. so any language to the contrary is simply not accurate. >> moderator: mr. president? obama: well, let's talk about taxes because i think it's instructive. now, four years ago when i stood on this stage, i said that i would cut taxes for middle class families. and that's exactly what i did. we cut taxes for middle class families by about $3600. and the reason is because i believe that we do best when the middle class is doing well.
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and by giving them those tax cuts, they had a little more money in their pocket, so maybe they can buy a new car. they are certainly in a better position to weather the extraordinary recession we went through. maybe buy a computer for their kid going off to college. they're spending more money, businesses have more customers, make more profits and hire more workers. now, governor romney's proposal that he's been promoting for 18 months calls for a $5 trillion tax cut on top of $2 trillion of additional spending for our military. and he is saying that he is going to pay for it by closing loopholes and deductions. the problem is that he's been asked over a hundred times how you would close those deductions and loophole, and he hasn't been able to identify them. but i'm going to make an important point here, jim. when you add up all the loopholes and deductions that upper income individuals can, are currently taking advantage of, you take those all away, you
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don't come close to paying for $5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending. and that's why independent studies looking at this said the only way to meet governor romney's pledge of not reducing the deficit or not adding to the deficit is burdening middle class families -- the average middle class family with children would pay about $2,000 more. now, that's not my analysis, that's the analysis of economists who have looked at this. and that kind of top-down economics where folks at the top are doing well so the average person making $3 million is getting a $250,000 tax break while middle class families are burdened further, that's not what i believe is a recipe for economic growth. >> moderator: all right, what is the difference -- romney: but i -- right, right. >> moderator: let's just stay on taxes for a moment. romney: virtually everything he said about hi many tax plan is
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inaccurate. if i was asked to support it, i'd say absolutely not. i'm not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut. what identify said is i won't put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. that's part one. so there's no economist can say mitt romney's tax plan adds $5 trillion if i say i will not add to the deficit with my tax plan. number two, i will not reduce the share paid by high-income individuals. i know you and your running mate keep saying that, but it's just not the case. look, i've got five boys. i'm used to people saying something that's not always true but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping i'll believe it. [laughter] that is not the case. i will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income americans. and number three, i will not under any circumstances raise taxes on middle income families. i will lower taxes on middle income families. now, you cite a study. there's six other studies that looked at the study you describe and say it's completely wrong. i awe a study that -- saw a study that came out today that
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you're going to raise taxes by $3-$4,000 on middle income families. there are all these studies out there. i want to bring down rates. i want to bring the rates down at the same time lower deductions and exemptions and forth. and you think, well, then why lower the rates? and the reason is because small business pays that individual rate. 54% of america's workers work in businesses that are taxed not at the corporate tax rate, but at the individual tax rate. and if we lower that rate, they will be able to hire more people. for me this is about jobs -- >> moderator: all right. romney: this is about getting jobs for the american people. >> moderator: do you challenge what the governor said about his own plan? obama: well, for 18 months he's been running on this tax plan, and now, five weeks before the election, he's saying his big, bold idea is never mind. and the fact is if you are
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lowering the rates the way you describe, governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only effect high income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. it's, it's math. it's arithmetic. now, governor romney and i do share a deep interest in encouraging small business growth. so at the same time that my tax plan has already lowered taxes for 98% of families, i also lowered taxes for small businesses 18 times. and what i want to do is continue the tax rates, the tax cuts that we put into place for small businesses and families. but i have said that for incomes over $250,000 a year that we should go back to the rates that we had when bill clinton was president, when we created 23 million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus and created a
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whole lot of millionaires to boot. and the reason this is important is because by doing that, we cannot only reduce the deficit, we cannot only encourage job growth through small businesses, but we're also able to make the investmentings necessary in education or in energy. and we do have a difference, though, when it comes to definitions of small business. under my plan 97% of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up. governor romney says, well, those top 3%, they're the job creators, they'd be burdened. but under governor romney's definition, there are a whole bunch of millionaires and billionaires are small businesses. donald trump is a small business. i know donald trump doesn't like to think of himself as small anything, but that's how you define small businesses if you're getting business income. and that kind of approach, i believe, will not grow our economy because the only way to pay for it without either burden the middle class or blowing up our deficit is to make drastic
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cuus in things like education, making sure that we are continuing to invest in basic science and research, all the things that are helping america grow. and i think that would with a mistake. >> moderator: all right. romney: jim, just to come back -- >> moderator: excuse me, excuse me, just so everybody understands, we're way over our 15 minutes. romney: that's fine, isn't it? >> moderator: that's great. [laughter] you don't have a problem, i don't have a problem, but we're still on the economy. i want to move on the the deficit and a lot of other things, too, but go ahead, sir. romney: you bet. mr. president, you're absolutely right which is with regards to 97 percent of the businesses are not taxed at the 35% tax rate, they're taxed at a lower rate. but those businesses that are in the last 3% of businesses happen to employ half, half of all the people who work in small business. those are the businesses that
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employ one-quarter of all the businesses in america, and your plan is to take their tax rate from 35 to 40%. i've talked to a guy who has a very small business in st. louis, he has four employees. he said he and his son calculated how much they pay in taxes. federal income tax, federal payroll tax, state income tax, state property tax, gasoline tax, it added up to well over 50% of what they earned. and your plan is to take the tax rate on successful small businesses from 35% to 40%. the national federation of independent businesses has said that will cost 700,000 jobs. i don't want to cost jobs. my priority is jobs. and so what i do is i bring down the tax rates, lower deductions and exemptions, the same idea behind bowles-simpson, by the way. get the rates down, lower deductions and exemptions to create more jobs because there's nothing better for getting us to a balanced budget than having
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more people working, earning more money, paying more taxes. that's by far the most effective and efficient way to get this budget balanced. obama: jim, you may want to move on to another topic, but i would just say this to the american people. if you believe that we can cut taxes by $5 trillion and add $2 trillion in additional spending that the military is not asking for, $7 trillion just to give you a sense over ten years, that's more than our entire defense budget, and you think that by closing loopholes and deductions for the well-to-do somehow you will not end up picking up the tab, then governor romney's plan may work for you. but i think math, common sense and our history shows us that's not a recipe for job growth. look, we've tried this. we've tried both approaches. the approach that governor romney's talking about is the same sales pitch that was made in 2001 and 2003.
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and we ended up with the slowest job growth in 50 years, we ended up moving from surplus to deficits, and it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the great depression. bill clinton tried the approach that i'm talking about. we created 23 million new jobs, we went from deficit to surplus, and businesses did very well. so in some ways we've got some data on which approach is more likely to create jobs and opportunity for americans, and i believe that the economy works best when middle class families are getting tax breaks so that they've got some money in their pockets, and those of us who have done extraordinarily well because of this magnificent country that we live in, that we can afford to do a little bit more to make sure we're not blowing up the deficit. romney: the president began this
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segment, so i get the last word. >> moderator: you're going to get the last word in the. >> romney let me repeat what i said. i'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. that's not my plan. point one. so you may keep referring to the $5 trillion tax cut, but that's not my plan. obama: okay. romney: number two, let's look at history. my plan is not like anything that's been tried before. my plan is to bring down rates but also bring down deductions and exemptions and credits at the same time so the revenue stays in, but we bring down rates to get more people working. my priority is putting people back to work in america. they're suffering in this country. and we talk about evidence, look at the evidence of the last four years. it's absolutely extraordinary. we've got 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work in this country. >> moderator: all right. romney: when the president took office, 32 million on food
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stamps, 47 million on food stamps today. economic growth slower this year than last year, and last year slower than the year before. going forward with the status quo is not going to cut it for the american people who are struggling today. >> moderator: all right. we're still on the economy. this is theoretically, now, a second segment still on the economy, and specifically on what to do about the federal deficit. the federal debt. and the question, you each have two minutes on this -- and, governor romney, you go first because the president went first on segment one. romney: yeah. >> moderator: and the question is this, what are the differences between the two of you as to how you would go about tackling the deficit problem in this country. romney: i'm glad you raised that, and it's a criticallish hsu. i think it's not just a economic issue, i think it's a moral issue. it's not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in knowing those burdens are going to be passed
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on the the next generation, and they're going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives. and the amount we're adding at a trillion a year is simply not moral. so how do we deal with snit mathematically, there are three ways that you can cut a deficit. one, of course, is to raise taxes. number two is to cut spending, and number three is to grow the economy. because if more people work in a growing economy, they're paying taxes, and you can get the job done that way. the president would prefer raising taxes. i understand. the problem with raising taxes is that it slows down the rate of growth. and you can never quite get the job done. i want to lower spending and encourage economic growth at the same time. what things would i cut from spending? well, first of all, i will eliminate all programs by this test if they don't pass it; is the program so critical, it's worth borrowing money from china to pay for? be if not, i'll get rid of it. obamacare's on my list, i use that term with all respect. obama: i like it. romney okay, good. i'm going to stop the subsidy to
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bpbs, and i love pbs, love big bird, love you too, but i'm not going to spend money on things to borrow money from china to pay for. that's number one. i'll take good programs that i think would be run more efficiently at the state level and send them to the state. number three, i'll make government more efficient, cut back the firm of employees, combine some agencies and the presidents. my cutbacks would be done through attrition, by the way. this is the approach we have to take to get america to a balanced budget. president said he'd cut the deficit in half. unfortunately, he doubled it. trillion dollar deficits for the last four years. the president's put it in place as much public debt, almost as much debt held by the public as all prior presidents combined. >> moderator: mr. president, two minutes. obama: when i walked into to value office, i had more than a trillion dollar deficit greeting me, and we know where it came from. two wars that were paid for on a credit card, two tax cuts that
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were not paid for, and a whole bunch of programs that were not paid for, and then a massive economic crisis. and despite that, what we've said is, yes, we had to take some emergency measures to make sure we didn't slip into a great depression, but what we've also said is let's make sure we are cutting out those things are that are not helping us grow. so 77 government programs, everything from aircraft that is the air force had ordered but weren't working very well, 18 government, 18 government programs for education that were well intentioned but weren't helping kids learn. we went after medical fraud in medicare and medicaid very aggressively, more aggressively than ever before and have saved tens of billions of dollars, $50 billion of waste taken out of the system, and i worked with democrats and republicans to cut a trillion dollars out of our discretionary domestic budget. that's the largest cut in the
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discretionary domestic budget since dwight eisenhower. now, we all know that we've got to do more, and so i put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan. it's on a web site, you can look at all the numbers; what cuts we make and what revenue we raise. and the way we do it is $2.50 for every cut we ask for a dollar of additional revenue paid for, as i indicated earlier, by asking those of us who have done very well in this country to contribute a little bit more to reduce the deficit. governor romney earlier mentioned the bowles-simpson commission. well, that's how the commission, bipartisan commission that talked about how we should move forward, suggested we have to do it, in a balanced way with some revenue and some spending cuts. and this is a major difference that governor romney and i just have. let me finish this point because you're looking for contrast. you know, when governor romney stood on a stage with other
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republican candidates for the nomination, and he was asked would you take $10 of spending cuts for just $1 of revenue, and he said, no. now, be you take such an unbalanced -- if you take such an unbalanced approach, then that means you are going to be gutting our investments in schools and education, it means that governor romney just talked about medicaid and how we could send it back to the states, but effectively this means a 30% cut in the primary program we help for seniors in nursing homes, for kids with disabilities. >> moderator: mr. president? obama: and that is not the right strategy for us. >> moderator: way over the two minutes. obama: sorry. >> moderator: governor romney, do you support simpson-bowles? romney the president should have grabbed that. if you want to make some adjustments, take it, go to
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congress, fight for it. obama: that's what we've done. romney: you've been president four years. you've been president four years. you said you'd cut the deficit in half. the cbo says we'll have a trillion dollar deficit each of the next four years, if you're reelected, we'll get to a trillion dollar debt. you have said before you'd cut the cef sit in half, and i love this idea of $4 trillion in cuts, getting closer to a balanced budget, except we still show trillion dollar deficits every year. that doesn't get the job done. let me come back and say why is it that i don't want to raise taxes. why don't i want to raise taxes on people? and actually you said it back in 2010, you said, look, i'm going to extend the tax policies that we have now, i'm not going to raise taxes on anyone because when the economy's growing slow like this, when we're in recession, you shouldn't raise taxes on anyone. well, the economy is still growing slow. as a matter of fact, it's growing much more slowly now than when you made that statement. and so if you believe the same thing, you just don't want to
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raise taxes on people. and the reality is it's not just wealthy people, you mentioned donald trump. it's not just donald trump you're taxing. it's all of those businesses that employ one-quarter of the workers in in america. you raise taxes and you kill jobs. that's why the national federation of independent businesses said your plan would kill 700,000 jobs. i don't want to kill jobs in this environment. >> moderator: back to the taxes thing for a moment. romney: okay. >> moderator: mr. president? obama: we've had this discussion before. >> moderator: the idea that in order to reduce the deficit, there has to be revenue in addition to cuts. obama: now, governor romney has ruled out revenue. he's ruled out revenue. romney: absolutely. look, the revenue i get is by more people working, getting higher pay, paying more taxes. that's how we get growth and how we balance the budget, but the idea of taxing people more,
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putting more people out of work, you'll never get there. you never balance the budget by raising taxes. spain, spain spends 42% of their total economy on government. >> moderator: okay. romney: we're now spending 42% of our economy on government. i don't want to go down the path of spain. i want to go down the path of growth that puts americans to work with more money in because they're working. >> moderator: but, mr. president, you're saying in other words -- in order to get the job done, it's got to be balanced. obama: if we're serious, we've got to take a balanced, responsible approach. and by the way, this is not just individual taxes. let's talk about corporate taxes. now, i've identified areas where we can right away make a change that i believe would actually help the economy. the oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. basically, they get deductions that those small businesses that governor romney refers to, they don't get. now, does anybody think that
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exxonmobil needs some extra money when they're making money every time you go to the pump? why wouldn't we want to eliminate that? why wouldn't we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets? my attitude is if you've got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight and not get a special break for it. when it comes to corporate taxes, governor rom has said he wants -- romney has said in a revenue-neutral way he wants to close loopholes, deductions -- he hasn't identified which ones they are, but there thereby brin the corporate rate. i want to do the same thing, but i've actually identified how we can do that, and part of the way to do it is to not give tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. right now you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. i think most americans would say that doesn't make sense, and all that raises revenue. and so if we take a balanced approach, what that then allows
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us to do is also to help young people, the way we already have during my administration, make sure that they can afford to go to college. it means that the teacher that i met in las vegas -- a wonderful young lady who describes to me, she's got 42 kids in her class. the first two weeks she's got 'em, some of 'em sitting on the floor until, finally, they get reassigned. they're using textbooks that are ten years old. that is not a recipe for growth, that's not how america was built. and so budgets reflect choices. ultimately, we're going to have to make some decisions. and if we're asking for no revenue, then that means that we've got to get rid of a whole bunch of stuff. and the magnitude of the tax cuts that you're talking about, governor, would end up resulting in severe hardship for people, but more importantly, would not help us grow. as i indicated before, when you talk about shifting medicaid to states, we're talking about potentially a 30 percent cut in
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medicaid over time. now, you know, that may not seem like a big deal when it just is, you know, numbers on a sheet of paper, but if we're talking about a family who's got an autistic kid and is depending on that medicaid, that's a big problem. and governors are creative. there's not doubt about it. but they're not creative enough to make up for 30% of revenue on something like medicaid. what ends up happening is some people end up not getting help. romney: jim, we've gone on a lot of topics there, so it's going to take a minute to go from medicaid to schools. >> moderator: go back to medicaid. romney: let's go through them one by one. first of all, the department of energy has said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year, and it's actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that's been in place for 100 years. obama: time to end it. romney: now, in one year you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world.
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now, i like green energy as well, but that's about 50 years' worth of what oil and gas receives, and you say exxonmobil -- actually, this $2.3 billion goes largely to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth. but, you know, if we get that tax rate from 35% down to 25%, that $2.8 billion is on the table. of course it's on the table. that's probably not going to survive to get that rate down to 25%. but don't forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years' worth of breaks into solar and wind, solyndra and fisker and tesla and enter one. i had a friend who said you don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers. all right? so this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get energy secure. the second topic, you said you'd get a deduction for taking a plant overseas. look, i've been in business for 25 years. i have no idea what you're talking about. i maybe need to get a new accountant. but the idea that you get a break for shipping jobs overseas
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is simply not the case. what we do have right now is a setting where i'd like to bring money from overseas back to this country. and finally, medicaid to states i'm not sure where that came in, except for this. i would like to take the medicaid dollars go to states and say you're going to get what you got last year plus inflation, plus 1%, and then you're going to manage your care for your poor in the way you think best. and i remember as a governor when this idea was floated by tommy thompson, the governors, republicans and democrats, said, please, let us do that. we can care for our own poor and so much better and more effective a way than having the federal government tell us how to care for our poor. so let's -- one of the magnificent things about this country is the whole idea that states are the laboratories of democracy. don't let the federal government tell everybody what kind of training programs they have to have and what kind of medicaid they have to have. let states do this. and by the way, if a state gets in trouble, we can step in and see if we can find a way to help
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them. but the right approach is one which relies on the brilliance of our people and states, not the federal governments. >> moderator: we're going on. still on the economy, but another part of it. obama: okay. >> moderator: all right? all right, this is segment three, the economy. entitlements. first answer goes to you, two minutes, mr. president. do you see a major difference between the two of you on social security? obama: you know, i suspect that on social security we've got a somewhat similar position. social security is structurally sound, it's going to have to be tweaked the way it was by ronald reagan and speaker, democratic speaker tip o'neill, but it is the, the basic structure is sound. but i want to talk about the values behind social security and medicare. and then talk about medicare, because that's the big driver. >> moderator: sure. obama: of our deficits right now. my grandmother, some of you know, helped to raise me. my grandparents did.
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my grandfather died a while back. my grandmother died three days before i was elected president. and she was fiercely independent. she worked her way up, only had a high school education, started as a secretary, ended up being the vice president of a local bank. and she ended up living alone by choice, and the reason she could be independent was because social security and medicare. she had worked all her life, put in this money and understood that there was a basic guarantee, a floor under which she could not go. and that's the perspective i bring when i think about what's called entitlements. you know, the name itself implies some sense of dependency on the part of these folks. these are folks who have worked hard, like my grandmother. and there are millions of people out there who are counting on this. so my approach is to say how do we strengthen the system over the long term. and in medicare what we did was we said we are going to have to bring down the costs if we're going to deal with our long-term
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deficits. but to do that, let's look where some of the money's going. $716 billion we were able to save from the medicare program by no longer overpaying insurance companies, by making sure that we weren't overpaying providers and using that money, we were actually able to lower prescription drug costs for seniors by an average of $600, and we were also able to make a significant dent in providing them the kind of preventive care that will ultimately save money throughout the system. so the way for us to deal with medicare in particular is to lower health care costs. but when it comes to social security, as i said, you don't need a major structural change in order to make sure that social security's there for the future. >> moderator: we'll follow up on this. first, governor romney, you have two minutes on social security and entitlements. romney: well, jim, our or seniors depend on these programs, and i know anytime we talk about entitlements people become concerned that
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something's going to happen that's going to change their life for the worse. and neither the president, nor i are proposing any changes for any current retirees or near retirees either to social security or medicare. so if your 60 or around 60 or older, you don't need to mention any further. but for younger people, we need to talk about what changes are going to be incurring. i was, in fact, wrong when i said the president isn't proposing changes. in fact, he is on medicare. on social security he's not. but on medicare for current retirees, he's cutting $716 billion from the program. now, he says by not overpaying hospitals and providers. actually, just going to them and saying we're going to reduce the rates you get paid across the board. everybody's going to get a lower rate. that's not just going after places where there's abuse, that's cutting the rates, some 15% of hospitals and nursing homes say they won't take any more medicare patients under that scenario. we also have 50% of doctors who
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say they won't take more medicare patients. this -- we have four million people on medicare advantage that will lose medicare advantage because of those $716 billion in cuts. i can't understand how you can cut medicare $716 billion for current recipients of medicare. now, you point out, well, we're putting some back. we're going to give a better prescription program. that's $1 for every 15 you've cut. they're smart enough to show know that's not a good trade. i want to take that $716 billion you've cut and put it back into medicare. by the way, we can include a prescription program if we need to improve it. but the idea of cutting $716 with from medicare to be able to balance the additional cost of obamacare is, in my opinion, a mistake. and with regards to young people coming along, i've got proposals to make sure medicare and social security are there for them without any question. >> moderator: mr. president. obama: first of all, i think it's important for governor romney to present this plan that he says will only effect folks
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in the future. and the essence of the plan is that he would turn medicare into a voucher program. it's called premium support, but it's understood to be a voucher program. his running mate -- >> moderator: and you don't support that. obama: i don't, and let me explain why. romney: that's for future people, not current retirees. obama: so if you're 54, 55, you might want to listen, because this will effect you. the idea, which was originally presented by congressman ryan, your running mate, is that we would give a voucher to seniors, and they could go out in the private marketplace and buy their own health insurance. the problem is that because the voucher wouldn't necessarily keep up with health care inflation, it was estimated that this would cost the average senior about $6,000 a year. now, in fairness, what governor romney has now said is he'll maintain traditional medicare
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alongside it. but there's still a problem, because what happens is those insurance companies are pretty clever at figuring out who are the younger and healthier seniors. they recruit them, leaving the older, sicker seniors in medicare. and every health care economist that looks at it says over time what'll happen is the traditional medicare system will collapse. and then what you've got is folks like my grandmother at the mercy of the private insurance system precisely at the time when they are most in need of decent health care. so i don't think vouchers are the right way to go. and this is not my, only my opinion. aarp thinks that the savings that we obtained from medicare bolster the system, lengthen the medicare trust fund by eight years. went benefits were not affected at all, and ironically, if you repeal obamacare -- and i have become fond of this term,
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obamacare -- [laughter] if you repeal it, what happens is those seniors right away are going to be paying $600 more in prescription pair, co-pays for basic check-ups that can keep them healthier, and the primary beneficiary of that repeal are insurance companies that are estimated to gain billions of dollars back when they aren't making seniors any healthier. and i don't think that's the right approach when it comes to making sure that medicare is stronger over the long term. >> moderator: we'll talk about specifically about health care in a moment, but do you support the voucher system, governor? romney: what i support is no change for current retirees and near retirees to medicare, and the president supports taking $716 billion out of that program >> moderator: what about the vouchers. romney: that's number one. number two is for people coming along that are young. what i do to make sure that we can keep medicare in place for them is to allow them either to
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choose the current medicare program or a private plan, their choice. they get to -- and they'll have at least two plans that will be entirely at no cost to them. so they don't have to pay additional money, no additional $6,000. that's not going to happen. they'll have at least two plans. and, by the way, if the government can offer premiums as low as the private sector, people will be happy to get traditional medicare, or they'll be able to get a private plan. i know my own view is i'd rather have a private plan. i'd just as soon be able to have an insurance company f i don't like them, i can get rid of them and find a different insurance company. but people make their own choice. the other thing we have to do to save medicare, we have to have the benefits high for those that are low income, but for higher income people we're going to have to lower some of the benefits. we have to make sure this program is there for the long-term. that's the plan that i put forward, and by the way, the idea came not even from paul ryan or senator wyden who's a co-author of the bill in the senate, but also from bill
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clinton's chief of staff. this is an idea that's been around a long time. hey, let's see if we can't get competition into the medicare world so that people can get the choice of different plans at lower costs, better quality. i believe in competition. >> moderator: okay. obama: jim, if i can just respond very quickly. first of all, every study has shown that medicare has lower administrative costs than private insurance does, which is why seniors are generally pretty happy with it. and private insurers have to make a profit. nothing wrong with that, that's what they do. and so you've got higher administrative costs plus profit on top of that, and if you are going to save any money through what governor romney's proposing, what has to happen is that the money has to come from somewhere. and when you move to a voucher system, you are putting seniors at the mercy of those insurance companies. and over time if traditional medicare has decayed or fallen
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apart, then they're stuck. and this is the reason why aarp has said that your plan would weaken medicare substantially, and that's why they were supportive of the approach that we took. one last point i want to make. we do have to lower the cost of health care not just in medicare -- >> moderator: we'll talk about that in a minute. obama: but overall. >> moderator: okay. romney: that's a big topic. >> moderator: yeah, we're going to -- yeah. i want to get to it, but all i want to do. >> romney: the president said the government can provide the service at a lower price. >> moderator: all right. romney: if that's the case, the private sector typically is able to provide a better product at a lower cost. >> moderator: can the two of you agree that the voters have a choice? romney: absolutely. obama: yes.
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>> moderator: all right, to finish, briefly, on the economy, what is your view about the federal regulation of the economy right now? is there too much? and in your case, mr. president, should there be more? beginning with you. this is not a two-minute segment, just start, and we'll go for a few minutes, and then we're going to go to health care, okay? romney: regulation is essential. you can't have a free market work if you don't have regulation. as a business person, i had to have -- i needed to know the regulations. i needed them there. you couldn't have people opening up banks in their garage and making loans. you have to have regulations so that you can have an economy work. every free economy has good regulation. at the same time, regulation can become excessive. >> moderator: is it excessive now, do you think? romney: in some cases. >> moderator: like where? republican romney: what's happened is you've seen regulation become excessive, and it's hurt the economy. let metive you an example. give you an example.
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dodd-frank was passed, and it include within it a number of provisions that i think have some unintended consequences that are harmful to the economy. one is it designates a number of banks as too big to fail. and they're effectively guaranteed by the federal government. this is the biggest kiss that's been given to new york banks i've ever seen. this is an enormous boon for them. there have been 122 community and small banks have closed since dodd-frank. so there's one example. here's another, in dodd-frank -- >> moderator: do you want to repeal dodd-frank? romney: and ri place it. we're not going to get rid of all regulation, you have to have regulation, and there's some parts of dodd-frank that make all the sense in the world. you need transparency -- >> moderator: all right, let's -- romney: let me mention the other one. >> moderator: no, let's not. [laughter] let him respond on dodd-frank and what the governor just said. obama: well, i think this is a great example. the reason we have been in such a enormous economic crisis was
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prompted by reckless behavior across the board. now, it one just on wall street. you -- it wasn't just on wall street. you had loan officers that were giving loans and mortgages that really shouldn't have been given because the folks didn't qualify. you had people borrowing money to buy houses they couldn't afford. you had credit agencies that were stamping visas a1 great investments when they weren't, but you also had banks making money hand over fist, churning out products that the bankers themselves didn't even understand. in order to make big profits but knowing that it made the entire system vulnerable. so what did we do? we stepped in and had the toughest reforms on wall street since the 1930s. we said you've got, banks, you've goat to raise your -- you've got to raise your capital requirements. you can't engage in this risky waiver putting main street at
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risk. you need to have a living will so we don't have other taxpayer bailouts. in the meantime, by the way, we also made sure that all the help we provided those banks was paid back, every single dime, with interest. now, governor romney has said he wants to repeal dodd-frank, and, you know, i appreciate -- and it appears we've got some agreement that a marketplace to work has to have some regulation. but in the past, governor romney, you've said you just want to repeal dodd-frank. roll it back. and so the question is, does anybody out there think that the big problem we had is that there was too much oversight and regulation of of wall street? because if you do, then governor romney is your candidate. but that's not what i believe. romney: sorry, that's just not the facts. look, we have to have regulation on wall street. that's why i'd have regulation.
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but i wouldn't designate five banks as too big to fail and give them a blank check. that's one of the unintended consequences of dodd-frank. it wasn't thought through properly. we need to get rid of that provision because it's killing regional and small banks. their getting hurt -- they're getting hurt. you say we were giving mortgages to people who weren't qualified. it's one of the reasons for the great financial calamity we had. and so dodd-frank correctly says we need to have qualified mortgages, and if you give a mortgage that's not qualified, there are big penalties. except they didn't ever go on to define what a qualified mortgage was. >> moderator: all right. romney: it's been two years, we don't know what a qualified mortgage is yet. so banks are reluctant to make loans, mortgages. try and get a mortgage these days. it's hurt the housing market because dodd-frank didn't anticipate putting in place the kinds of regulations you have to have. it's not that dodd-frank always was wrong with too much regulation, sometimes they didn't come out with a clear regulation. i will make sure we don't hurt
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the functioning of our, of our marketplace and our businesses, because i want to bring back housing and get good jobs. >> moderator: all right. i think we have another clear difference between the two of you. now let's move to health care where i know there is a clear difference. [laughter] and that has to do with the affordable care act, obamacare, and it's a two-minute new segment, and that means two minutes each, and you go first, governor romney. you wanted repeal. you want the affordable care act repealed. why? romney: i sure do. well, part of it comes, again, from my experience. i was in new hampshire, a woman came to me, and she said, look, i can't afford insurance for myself or my son. i met a couple in appleton, wisconsin, and they said we're thinking of dropping our insurance, we can't afford it. and the number of small businesses i've gone to that are saying they're dropping insurance because they can't afford it, the cost of health care is just prohibitive, and we've got to deal with cost. and unfortunately, when you rook
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at obamacare -- look at obamacare, the congressional budget office has said it will cost $2,500 a year more than traditional insurance. so it's adding to cost. and as a matter of fact, when the president ran for office, he said that by this year he would have brought down the cost of insurance for each family by $2,500 a family. instead, it's gone up by that amount. so it's expensive. expensive things hurt families. so that's one reason i don't want it. second reason, it cuts $716 billion from medicare to pay for it. i want to put that money back in medicare for our seniors. number three, it puts in place an unelected board that's going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have. i don't like that idea. fourth, there was a survey done of small businesses across the country. said what's been the effect of obamacare on your hiring plans? and three-quarters of them said it makes us less likely to hire people. i just don't know how the president could have come into office facing 23 million people
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out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the kitchen table and spent his energy and passion for two years fighting for obamacare in instead of fighting for jobs for the american people. it has killed jobs. and the best course for health care is to do what we did in my state; craft a plan at the state level that fits the need of the state. and then let's focus on getting the costs down for people rather than raising it with a $2,500 additional premium. >> moderator: mr. president, the argument against repeal. obama: well, four years ago when i was running for office, i was traveling around and having those same conversations that governor romney talks about. and it wasn't just that small businesses were seeing costs skyrocket, and they couldn't get affordable coverage even if they wanted to provide it to their employees, it wasn't just that this was the the biggest driver of our deficit, our overall health care costs, but it was families who were worried about going bankrupt if they got sick. millions of namelies all across
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the country -- families all across the country. if they had a pre-existing condition, they might not be able to get coverage at all. if they did have coverage, insurance companies might impose an arbitrary limit. and so as a consequence, they're paying their premiums, somebody gets really sick. lo and behold, they don't have enough money to pay the bills because the insurance companies say that they have hit the limit. so we did work on this alongside working on jobs. because this is part of making sure that middle class families are secure in this country. and let me tell you exactly what obamacare did. number one, if you've got health insurance, it doesn't mean a government takeover. you keep your own insurance. you keep your own doctor. but it does say insurance companies can't jerk you around. they can't impose arbitrary lifetime limits. they have to let you keep your kid on their insurance, your insurance plan until you're 26 years old. and it also says that you're
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going to have to get rebates if insurance companies are spending more on administrative costs and profits than they are on actual care. number two, if you don't have health insurance, we're essentially setting up a group plan that allows you to benefit from group rates that are typically 18% or lower than if you're out there trying to get insurance on the individual market. now, the last point i'd make before -- >> moderator: two minutes is up, sir. obama no, i think i had five seconds before he interrupted me -- [laughter] the irony is that we've seen this model work really well. in massachusetts. because governor romney did a good thing working with democrats in the state to set up what is essentially the identical model, and as a consequence people are covered
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there. it hasn't destroyed jobs. and as a consequence, we now have a system in which we have the opportunity to start bringing down costs as opposed to just leaving millions of people out in the cold. >> moderator: your five seconds went away a long time ago. [laughter] all right, governor. governor, tell the president directly why you think what he just said is wrong about obamacare. romney: well, i did with my first statement. obama: he did. romney. i'll go on. [laughter] first of all, i like the way we did it in massachusetts. i like the fact that in my state we had republicans and democrats come together and work together. what you did instead was to push through a plan without a single republican vote. as a matter of fact, when massachusetts did something quite extraordinary, elected a republican senator to stop obamacare, you pushed it through anyway. so entirely on a partisan basis instead of bringing america together and having a discussion on this important topic, you pushed through something that you and nancy pelosi and harry reid felt was the best answer and drove it through.
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what we did in a legislature 87% democrat, we worked together. 200 legislators in my legislate churks only two voted against the plan by the time we were finished. we didn't raise taxes. you raised them by a trillion dollars under obamacare. we didn't cut medicare. of course, we don't have medicare, but we didn't cut it by $716 billion. we didn't put in place a board that can tell people what treatments they're going to receive. we didn't also do something that i think a number of people across this country recognize which is put people in a position where they're going to lose the insurance they had and they wanted. right now the cbo says up to 20 million people will lose their insurance as obamacare goes into effect next year. and likewise a study by mckenzie and company of american businesses said 30% of them are anticipating dropping people from coverage. so for those reasons, for the tax, for medicare, for this board and for people losing their insurance, this is why the american people don't want
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medicare, don't want obamacare, it's why republicans said do not do this, and the republicans have a plan. they put a plan out. they put a bipartisan plan. it was swept aside. i think something this big, this important has to be done in a bipartisan basis. and we have to have a president who can reach across the aisle and fashion important legislation with the input from both parties. obama: governor romney said this has to be done on a bipartisan basis. this was a bipartisan idea. in fact, it was a republican idea. and governor romney at the beginning of this debate wrote and said what we did in massachusetts could be a model for the nation. and i agree that the democratic legislators in massachusetts might have given some advice to republicans in congress about how to cooperate, but the fact of the matter is we used the same advisers, and they say it's the same plan. it, when governor romney talks about this board, for example, unelected board that we've created, what this is a group of
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health care experts, doctors, etc., to figure out how can we reduce the cost of care in the system overall? because there are two ways of doling with our health care -- dealing with our health care crisis. one is to simply leave a whole bunch of people uninsured and let them fend for themselves, to let businesses figure out how long they can continue to pay premiums until finally they just give up and their workers are no longer getting insured -- and that's been the trend line. or alternatively, we can figure out how do we make the cost of care more effective? and there are ways of doing it. so at cleveland clinic, one of the best health care systems in the world, they actually provide great care cheaper than average. and the reason they do is because they do some smart things. they, they say if a patient's coming in, let's get all the doctors together at once, do one test instead of having the patient run around with ten
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tests. let's make sure that we're providing preventive care so we're catching the onset of something like diabetes. let's, let's pay providers on the basis of performance as opposed to on the basis of how many procedures they've engaged in. now, so what this board does is, basically, identifies best practices and says let's use the purchasing power of medicare and medicaid to help to institutionalize all these good things that we do. and the fact of the matter is that when obamacare is fully implemented, we're going to be in a position to show that costs are going down. and over the last two years, health care premiums have gone up, it's true, but they've gone up slower than anytime in the last 50 years. so we're already beginning to see progress. in the meantime, folks out there with insurance, you're already getting a rebate. let me make one last point.
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governor romney says we should replace it. i'm just going to repeal it, but we can replace it with something. but the problem is, he hasn't described what exactly we'd replace it with other than saying we're going to leave it to the states. but the fact of the matter is that some of the prescriptions that he's offered like letting you buy insurance across state lines, there's no indication that that somehow is going to help somebody who's got a pre-existing condition be able to finally buy insurance. in fact, it's estimated that by repealing obamacare, you're looking at 50 million people losing health insurance at a time when it's vitally important. >> moderator: let's let the governor explain what you would do if obamacare is repealed. how would you replace it? romney: well, actually, it's a lengthy description, but number one, pre-existing conditions are covered. number two, young people are able to stay on their family plan. that's already offered in the private marketplace. you don't need to have the government mandate that for that to occur.
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but let's come back to something the president and i agree on, which is the key task we have in health care is to get the costs down so it's more affordable for families x then -- and then he has as a model for doing that a board of people at the government, an unelected board, appointed board, who are going to decide what kind of treatments you ought to have. obama: no, they're not. romney: in my opinion, the government is notfective in bringing down the cost of -- not effective in bringing down the cost of almost anything. as a matter of fact, free people and free enterprises trying to find a way to do things better are more effective than the government will ever be. your example of the cleveland clinic is my case in point, along with several ore others i could describe. this is the private market. these are small, these are enterprises competing with each other, learning how to do better and better jobs. i used to consult to businesses, excuse me, to hospitals and to health care providers. i was astonished at the creativity and innovation that exists in the american people. in order to bring the cost of
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health care down, we don't need to have around board of 15 people -- to have a board of 15 people telling us what kind of treatments we should have. we instead need to put insurance plans, providers, doctors, hospitals, our targets such that they have an incentive, as you say, performance pay for doing an excellent job, for keeping costs down, and that's happening. inner mountain health care is doing it well, mayo clinic, cleveland clinic, others. but the right answer is not to have the federal government take over health care and start mandating to the providers across america, telling a patient and a doctor what kind of treatment they can have. that's the wrong way to go. the private market and individual responsibility all work best. obama: let me just point out, first of all, this board that we're talking about can't make decisions about what treatments are given. that's explicitly prohibited in the law. but let's go back to what governor romney indicated, that
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under his plan he would be able to cover people with pre-existing conditions. well, actually governor, that isn't what your plan does. what your plan does is to duplicate what's already the law which says if you are out of health insurance for three months, then you can end up getting continuous coverage, and an insurance company can't deny you if you've, if it's been under 09 days. -- 90 days. but that's already the law. and that doesn't help the millions of people out there with pre-existing conditions. there's a reason why governor romney set up the plan that he did in massachusetts. it wasn't a government takeover of health care, it was the largest expansion of private insurance. but what it does say is that, insurers, you've got to take everybody. now, that also means that you've got more customers. but when governor romney says that he'll replace it with
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something but can't detail how it will be, in fact, replaced and the reason he set up the system he did in massachusetts because will isn't a better way of dealing with the pre-existing conditions problem, it just reminds me of, you know, he says that he's going to close deductions and loopholes for his tax plan, that's how it's going to be paid for, but we don't know the details. he says that he's going to replace dodd-frank, wall street reform. but we don't know exactly which ones. he won't tell us. he now says he's going to preplace obamacare and assure that all the good things that are in it are going to be in there, and you don't have to worry. and at some point i think the american people have to ask themselves, is the reason that governor romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret because they're too good? is it because that somehow middle class families are going to benefit too much from them? no. the reason is because when we
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reform wall street, when we tackle the problem of pre-existing conditions and, you know, these are tough problems. and we've got to make choices. and the choices we've made have been ones that ultimately are benefiting middle class families all across the country. >> moderator: all right. we're going to move to -- romney: my experience as a governor if i say it's my way or the highway, i don't get a lot done. what i do is the same way tip o'neill and ronald reagan worked together when ronald reagan ran for office. he laid out the principles that he was going to foster. he said he was going to lower tax rates. he said he was going to broaden the base. you've said the same thing, you're going to simplify the tax code, broaden the base. those are my principles. i want to bring down the tax burden on middle income family, and i'm going to work together with congress to say, okay, what are the various ways we could bring down deductions, for instance? one way would be to have a single number. make up a number, 25,000,
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$50,000. anybody could have deductions up to that amount. and then that number disappears for high income people. that's one way one could do it. one could follow bowles-simpson as a model and take deduction by deduction and make differences that way. there are alternatives to accomplish the objective i have which is to bring down rates, broaden the base. simplify the code and create incentives for growth. and with regards to health care, you have remarkable details with regards to my pre-existing condition plan. you obviously studied up on my plan. in fact, i do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions. that's part of my health care plan. and what we did in massachusetts is a model for the nation state by state. and i've said that at that time. the federal government taking over health care for the entire nation and whisking aside the tenth amendment which gives states the rights for these kinds of things is not the course for america to have a stronger, more vibrant economy. >> moderator: that is a terrific segway to our next
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segment and is the role of government. and, let's see, role of government, and it is -- you are first on this, mr. president. the question is this: do you believe, both of you -- but you have the first two minutes on this, mr. president -- do you believe there's a fundamental difference between the two of you as to how you view the mission of the federal government? obama: well, i definitely think there are differences. >> moderator: yeah. obama: the first role of the federal government is to keep the american people safe. that's its most basic function. and as commander in chief, that is something that i have worked on and thought about every single day that i've been in to to -- in the oval office. but i also believe that government has the capacity, the federal government has the capacity to help open up opportunity and create ladders of opportunity and to create framework withs where the person -- frameworks where the
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american people can succeed. the genius of america is the free enterprise system and freedom and the fact that people can go out there and start a business, work on an idea, make their own decisions. but as abraham lincoln understood, there are also some things we do better together. so in the middle of the civil war, abraham lincoln said let's help to finance the transcontinental railroad. let's start the national academy of sciences. let's start land grant colleges, because we want to give these gateways of opportunity for all americans. because if all americans are getting opportunity, we're all going to be better off. that doesn't restrict people's freedom, that enhances it. and so what i've tried to do as president is to apply those same principles. and when it comes to education, what i've said is we've got to reform schools that are not working. we use something called race to the top.
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it wasn't a top-down approach, governor. what we've said is to states, we'll give you more money if you initiate reforms. and as a consequence, you had 46 states around the country who have made a real difference. but what i've also said is let's hire another 100,000 math and science teachers to make sure we maintain our technological lead and our people are skilled and able to succeed. and hard-pressed states right now can't all do that. in fact, we've seen layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers over the last several years s and governor romney doesn't think we need more teachers. i do, because i think that that is the kind of investment where the federal government can help. they can't do it all, but it can make a difference. and as a consequence, we'll have a better-trained work force, and that are create jobs because companies want to locate in places where we've got a skilled work force. >> moderator: two minutes, governor, on the role of government. romney: well, first, i love great schools. montana, our schools are ranked number one of all 50 states, and
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the key to great schools, great teachers. so i reject the idea that i don't believe in great teachers or more teachers. every school district, every state should make that decision on their own. the role of government, look behind us. the constitution and the declaration of independence. the role of government is to promote and protect the principles of those documents. first, life and liberty. we have a responsibility to protect the lives and liberties of our people, and that means the military second to none. i do not believe in cutting our military, i believe in maintaining the strength of america's military. second, in that line that says we are endowed by our creator with our rights, i believe we must maintain our commitment to religious tolerance and freedom in this country. that statement also says that we are endowed by our creator with the right to pursue happiness as we choose. i interpret that as, one, making sure that those people who are less fortunate and can't care for themselves are cared by one
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another. we're a nation that believes that we're all children of the same god, and we care for those that have difficulties, those that are you you -- elderly, tht are disabled, we care for them. and we look for discovery and innovation, all these things desired out of the american heart to provide the pursuit of happynd for our citizens. -- happiness for our citizens. but we also believe in maintaining for individuals the right to pursue their dreams and not to have the government substitute itself for the rights of free individuals. and what we're seeing right now is, in my view, a trickle-down government approach which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams. and it's not working. and the proof of that is 23 million people out of work. the proof is one out of six people in poverty. the proof of that is we've gone from 32 million on food stamps to 47 million on food stamps. the proof of that is that 50% of college graduates this year can't find work. we know that the path we're taking is not working, it's time for a new path.
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>> moderator: all right. let's go through some specifics in terms of how weave -- each of you views the role of government. education. does the federal government have a responsibility to improve the quality of public education in america? romney: well, the primary responsibility for education is, of course, at the state and local level. but the federal government also can play a very important role, and i agree with secretary arne duncan. there's some ideas he's put forward on race to the top, not all of them, but some of them i agree with and congratulate him for pursuing that. the federal government can get local and state schools to do a better job. my own view, by the way, is i've added to that. i want the kids that are getting federal dollars from idea or title i, these are disabled kids or poor kids, lower income kids, rather, i want them to be able to go to the school of their choice, so all federal funds instead of going to the state or to the school district i'd have go, if you will, follow the child and let the parent and the child decide where to send their
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student. >> moderator: how do you see the federal government's responsibility to, as i say, to improve the quality of public education in this country? obama: well, as i've indicated, i think it has a significant role to play. to our race to the top program, we've worked with republican and democratic governors to initiate major reforms, and they're having an impact right now. >> moderator: do you think you have a difference with your views and those of governor romney on, about education? obama: this is where budgets matter because budgets reflect choices. so when governor romney indicates that he wants to cut taxes and potentially benefit folks like me and him and to pay for it we're having to initiate significant cuts in federal support for education, that makes a difference. you know, his running mate, congressman ryan, put forward a budget that reflects many of the principles that governor romney's talked about. and it wasn't very detailed.
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this seems to be a trend. but what it did do is to if you extrapolated how much money we're talking about, you'd look at cutting the education budget by up to 20%. when it comes to community colleges, we are seeing great work done out there all over the country because we have the opportunity to train people for jobs that exist right now. and one of the jobs i suspect governor romney and i probably agree on is getting businesses to work with community colleges so that they're setting up their training programs. >> moderator: do you agree, governor? obama: let me finish. romney: going well in my state, yeah. obama: they're partnering, they're designing training programs and people who are going through them know there's a job waiting for them if they complete it. that makes a big difference, but that requires federal support. let me just say one final example. when it comes to making college affordable whether it's two-of year or four-year, one of the
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things that i did as president was we were sending $60 billion to banks and lenders as middlemen for the student loan program. even though the loans were guaranteed. so there was no risk for the banks or lenders, but they were taking billions out of the system. and we said why not cut out the middleman? and as a consequence, what we've been able to do is to provide millions more students assistance, lower or keep low interest rates on student loans. and this is an example of where our priorities make a difference. governor romney, i genuinely believe, cares about education. but when he tells a student that, you know, you should borrow money from your parents to go to college, you know, that indicates the degree to which, you know, there may not be as much of a focus on the fact that folks like myself, folks like michelle, kids probably who attend university of denver just don't have that option. and for us to be able to make
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sure that they've got that opportunity and they can walk through that door, that is vitally important not just to those kids, it's how we're going to grow this economy over the long term. >> moderator: so we're running out of time. romney: jim? >> moderator: i'll give you a chance to respond to that. yes, sir, governor. obama: you're title today your own plane and house, but not to your own facts. i don't have any plan to cut education funding and grants that go to people who go to college. i'm planning on continuing to grow, so i'm not planning on making changes there, but you make a very good point which is the place you put your money makes a pretty clear indication of where your heart is. you put $90 billion into green jobs. and i, look, i'm all in favor of green energy, 90 billion. that would have hired two million teachers. $90 billion. and these businesses, many of them have gone out of business, i think about half of them, a number of them happen to be
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owned by people who were contributors to your campaigns. look, the right course for america's government -- we're talking about the role of government -- is not to become the economic player picking winners and losers, telling people what kind of health treatment they can receive, taking over the health care system that has existed in this country for a long, long time and has produced the best health records in the world. the right answer for government is to say how do we make the private sector become more effective? how do we get schools to be more competitive? let's grade them. i propose we grade our schools so parents know which schools are succeeding and failing so they can take their child to a school that's being more success. i don't want to cut our commitment to education, i want to make it for effective and efficient. and by the way, i've had that experience. i don't just talk about it, i've been there. massachusetts schools are ranked number one in the nation. this is not because i didn't have commitment to education. it's because i care about education for all of our kids. >> moderator: all right, gentlemen, look.
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excuse me, one second. excuse me, sir. [laughter] we've got barely three minutes left. i'm not going to grade the two of you and say your answers have been too long or i've done a poor job -- obama: you did a great job, jim. >> moderator: well, the fact is the role of government and governing, we've lost a pod, in other words. so we only have three, three minutes left. in the debate before we go to your closing statements, and so i want to ask finally here, and remember, we've got three minutes total time here. and the question is this: many of the legislative functions of the federal government right now are in a state of paralysis as a result of partisan gridlock. if elected -- in your case, if reelected in your case -- what would you do about that? governor? romney: jim, i had the great experience, it didn't seem like it at a time, of being elect
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inside a state when my legislature was 87% democrat. i had to get along, and i had to work across the aisle to get anything done. we drove our schools to be number one in the nation -- >> moderator: what would you do as president? romney: the day after i get elected, i'll sit down with leaders, the democratic leaders as well as republican leaders as we did in my state. we met every monday for a couple hours, talked about the issues and challenges in our state, in that case. we have to work on a collaborative basis not because we're going to compromise our principles, but because there's common ground. and the challenges america faces right now, look, the reason i'm in this race is there are people that are really hurting today in this country. and we face, this deficit could crush the future generations. what's happening in the middle east. there are developments around the world that are of real concern, and republicans and democrats both love america, but we need to have leadership. leadership in washington that will actually bring people together and get the job done and could not care less if it's
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a republican or a democrat. i've done it before, i'll do it again. >> moderator: mr. president? obama: first of all, i think governor romney's going to have a busy first day, because he's also going to repeal obamacare which will not be popular among democrats as you're sitting down with them. [laughter] look, my philosophy has been i will take ideas from anybody, democrat or republican, as long as they're advancing the cause of making middle class families stronger and giving ladders of opportunity to the middle class. that's how we cut taxes for middle class families and can small businesses. that's how we cut a trillion dollars of spending that wasn't advancing that cause. that's how we signed three trade deals into law that are helping us to double our exports and sell more american products around the world. that's how we repealed don't ask, don't tell. that's how we ended the war in iraq, as i promised, and that's how we're going to wind down the war in afghanistan. that's how we went after al-qaeda and bin laden. so we've seen progress even under republican control of the
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house of representatives. but ultimately, part of being principled, part of being a leader is, a, being able to describe exactly what it is that you intend to do, not just saying i'll sit down, but you have to have a plan. number two, what's important so caseally you've got to say now -- occasionally you've got to say no to folks both in your own party and in the other party. and, you know, yes, have we had some fights between me and the republicans when they fought back against us reining in the excesses of wall street? absolutely. because that was a fight that needed to be had. when, when we were fighting about whether or not we were going to make sure that americans had more security with their or health insurance and they said, no, yes, that was a fight we needed to have. >> moderator: all right. obama: and so part of leadership and governing is both saying what it is that you are for, but also being willing to say no to some things. and i've got to tell you, governor romney, when it comes to his own party during the course of campaign, has not
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displayed that willingness to say no to some of the more extreme parts of his party. >> moderator: that brings us to closing statements. there was a coin toss. governor romney, he won the toss, and you elected to go last. so you have a closing two minutes, mr. president. obama: well, jim, i want to thank you, and i want to thank governor romney because i think it was a terrific debate, and i very much appreciate it. and i want to thank the university of denver. you know, four years ago we were going through a major crisis, and yet my faith and confidence in the american future is diminished. and the reason is because of its people. because of the woman i met in north carolina who decided at 55 to go back to school because she wanted to inspire her daughter and now has a job from that new training she's gotten. because a company in minnesota who was willing to give up salaries and perks for their executives to make sure that they didn't layoff workers
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during a recession. the autoworkers that you meet in toledo or detroit take such pride in building the best cars in the world not just because of paycheck, but because it gives them that sense of pride that they're helping to build america. and so the question mow is how the question now is how to we build on the strengths? everything i tried to do, and everything i propose in four proposing for the next four years in terms of improving our education system or developing american energy or making sure we're closing loopholes for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and focusing on companies that are creating jobs here in the united states or closing our deficit in a responsible, balanced way that allows us to invest in our future, all those things are designed to make sure that the american people, their genius, their grit, their determination is channeled, and they have an opportunity to succeed. and everybody's getting a fair shot, everybody's getting a fair share. everybody's doing their fair share, and everybody's playing
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by the same rules. that i'm not a perfect man, and i wouldn't be a perfect president. that's a promise that governor romney probably thinks i kept, but i also promised that i'd fight every single day on behalf of the american people, the middle class, and all of those strives to get into the middle class. i kept that promise, and if you'll vote for me, then i promise i'll fight just as harold in the second term. >> moderator: governor romney, your two min close. romney: thank you. thank you for tuning in this evening. this is an important election. i'm concerned about america, the direction it's taken over the last four years. i know this is bigger than an election of the two of us as individuals. it's bigger than our respective parties. it's an election about the course of america. what america do you want to have for yourself and your children? there really are two different paths we began speaking about this evening, and over the course of the month, we'll have
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two more presidential debates and a vice vice presidential dee to talk about the two paths, but they lead in very different directions. it's not just looking to the words you have to take in evidence of where they go. look at the record. there's no question in any mind if the president was re-elected, you'll continue to see a middle class squeeze with incomes going down and prices going up. i'll get incomes up again. you'll see chronic unemployment. we had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8%. if i'm president, i'll help create 12 million new jobs in this country with rising incomes. the president's re-elected, obamacare will be fully installed. in my view, that means a whole different way of life for people who counted on the ?ushes plan they had -- insurance plan they had in the past. many will lose it. premiums go up. if i'm elected, we won't have obamacare, but put in place principles i put in place in my own state allowing the states to craft their own programs to be insured and get the cost of
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health care down. if the president was re-elected, you're going to see a $716 billion cut to medicare. you'll have 4 million people losing medicare advantage. you'll have hospitals and providers that will no longer accept medicare patients. i'll restore that $716 billion to medicare, and finally, military. the president's re-elected, you'll see dramatic cuts to the military. the secretary of defense said they would be devastating. i will not cut the commitment to our military, but keep america strong and get america's middle class working again. thank you, jim. >> moderator: thank you, governor. thank you, mr. president. the next debate will be the vice presidential event on thursday, october 11th at center college in danville, kentucky. for now, from the university of denver, i'm jim lehrer, thank you and good night. [cheers and applause] neil: the first presidential debate is done, and the two men, did, in fact, bring it on. i'll let some of the pundits and
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others who we will not be interviewing tonight, but some of their respective supporters, the respective spouses give their congratulatory hugs, put the proper spin on it, but i do want to show you a phenomena that is unique in american politics after a debate of this magnitude. i want to switch to where i am now here in what they call the spin room. the spin began before these guys were even done. you could see florida senator marco rubio, who was here before the debate was even finished, talking to the press, no doubt, saying mitt romney had done very well. it's hard to sit here. if we can pull out, guys, or get a sense of the throng pushing in this room, but on the opposite side of the room -- if we can leave marco rubio and spin around if that's possible, there's a crush of republicans and democrats giving reporters
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their perspective two cents on the debate. i saw senator hatch, bob portman who played a crucial role in helping mitt romney prepare for this debate, reportedly playing the role of the president. i see a number of reporters like our own ed henry walking by. on the other side of the hall, hard to make out from here, a limited number of cameras with me, but the obama forces, bob gibbs, nancy pelosi, appointly making her way into the room soon. here's what happens in the spin room and that alley really, spin alley, is they all get out there, the reporters leave the seats. it looks like appbst telethon. they are not getting free tote bags. these are the people who are going to decide whether this succeeded, trying to make out
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who is who. who is coming in? mitt romney and his family, his five sons, 18 grandchildren. that's them leaving the room now. barack obama as well. sarah palin on the phone with us right now i believe. the former alaska governor. governor, what did you think? >> caller: oh, it was a struggle to watch some parts of this, neil, as you considered president obama with his lack of enthusiasm for his own policies and his lack of conviction in trying to articulate why it is that he believes government will make you healthy, wealthy, and wise and happy when you know the vast majority of americans know government is not the answer. i almost felt sorry for him in his role as president trying to explain why we need to repeat four more years of failed
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policies. i thought this was romney's night. romney did very well, and he was able to, i think, articulate well why it is someone with great business experience is what we need to turn this economy around. neil: i know last time we chatted, governor, you had said that it was important for mitt romney to bring it to the president, and not only to see an electoral argument -- you didn't say it, but i'm paraphrasing -- is passionate argument in other words to show why a change in leadership is so important or that he could lose this thing. do you think that tonight he did that? >> well, he did that, but, neil, to be honest with you, i was still hoping that both of these candidates would be able to explain to the american public the economic woes that we are in right now and the gravity of the situation that our debt is causing. we are drowning.
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we are a country facing bankruptcy that will forever change the american landscape, and neither candidate really articulated, i think, quite passionately strongly the gravity of the situation, but having said that, romney still did a heck of a lot better job than president obama in explaning why it is so important that we turn things around, and that we start prioritizing where we will spend american tax dollars. i sure wish both candidates, though, would have explained that government doesn't have a revenue problem. they truly have a spending problem. they don't need to keep taking more and more from the private sector and squeezing out investment opportunities that would otherwise allow the private sector to grow and thrive, that's allowing government to grow. i wish both candidates would have been more passionate about why the private sector needs to be allowed to be unleashed, that entrepreneurial spirit. neil: did you get a sense,
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governor palin, as we look at the spin room, there are throngs around different representatives speaking on behalf of the candidates, and, again, mitt romney, and we saw mayor juliani and john thune and democrats doing the same for obama. do you recall the procedure those who supported you as well as those who supported joe biden were going to leave the debate early, if not even watch the -- say the last 15 minutes of the debate because a lot of these guys, governor, were in place and talking before the debate was even done. in other words, is that usual? >> you know, i had no idea four years ago what was going on behind the scenes or in headquarters. in fact, we used to have a running joke that the jv squad,
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those on the vice presidential side of the ticket, we used to talk about where is this mysterious headquarters, and what are they doing to this campaign? i didn't know back then how it worked. i still don't know the inside baseball stuff. i just know as an average american that i am expecting the candidates at this level to be able to explain to the people the true state of our union, what our economy actually looks like, and what we can do to turn things around, and, again, i believe that governor romney was able to explain much better policy proposals than barack obama was. obama still believes in growing more government, just repeating mistakes, and tonight, i believe, governor romney was thee one to explain how he will be able to turn things around. neil: do you think the expectations gained matter, governor? in the case of mitt romney, depending how the media portrayed the polls, he had hit it out of the park tonight. he was desperate for him to get
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there, and so he had to really be in the president's face and deliver the goods, but if the expectations were low for him to begin with, that would be good enough for him, and he would look good. i don't know how they review this debate and see how he did. he seemed to do fine addressing his basic issues, and the president appeared to be thin skinned, but that could be my knee jerk brief. i remember your debate with joe biden, folks in the main stream media expected you to lose, and poll results afterwards thought -- said americans thought you won. i wonder how the expectations gain plays into this. i know it gets a little too punditry, and i'm not in that camp, but from the expectations game, if they were low for mitt romney, did that help him, and did he comport himself well as a result? >> well, it was pretty
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fascinating to watch both camps try to lower expectations so that there would be no disappointment. afterwards, it was like, oh, come on, guys, you're taking it too far. get on with it. let's hear the plan from both of you and judge from there, but i tell you what the expectations are, at least for me, from henceforth will be that 90% of the liberal media they say, of course, that president obama won the debate. you know, you can expect that. that's common place now that mitt romney, a conservative, will not be begin a fair shot overall when the media will generalize what a result was from the debate. you know, that's reality. that's the new reality, but it should challenge conservatives even more, make us work harder, make us be clearer in what our policy proposals will be so that the average american can judge
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doing our own homework, judge regardless of the filter of the mainstream media, what they try to do to the conservative message. neil: very well put. governor, always a pleasure. thank you, ma'am. >> thank you, keep up the good work. neil: governor sarah palin. this is just incredible to me. can we see this? i know it's hard to because it's over my fat head, yes, but the poor cameramans saying, neil, your head's a planetary system, we can't get past it. if you can try though, it's interesting. that's senator of hatch of utah. i don't think he's saying president obama had a good night. as we pan the room and the throng, i saw portman, i saw robert gibbs i think. here's what's interesting. when this started, folks, remember what they said about each of their candidates. he's not a good debater. he's really not very good at
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these kind of one-on-one exchanges. he's all but unable to walk, talk, and chew gum at the same time. now, after the debates, they are all einsteins, and that they delivered a kind of a moment, and it was a home run. i suspect we'll probably see the vice presidential debates going into with the expectations low and afterwards saying how great they did afterwards. i have no problem with that. i built a college career on it. some of you argue a professional career. keep the expectations low, and shock them on the upside when as fbn has, you take over the financial world, but i digress. i want to get to tom stemberg and how this plays out. he's a staples co-founder, former ceo. big supporter of mitt myth, but do -- of mitt romney, duh do you think mitt romney delivered what he had to deliver? to read the polls, tom, he had to at least slow what appeared
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to be the air coming out of the balloon. what do you say? >> gosh, if this had been a fight, i think they would have thrown in the towel before ten o'clock. mitt scored punch after punch. the fact is president obama is terrific on his feet when nobody's challenging him on the facts. when he tried again and again to say mitt romney's cutting taxes for the wealthy by $5 trillion, time and time again, mitt put him in his place. he had a weird grin. neil: on that point, it's like a he said, he said thing. it's not 5, it's 2. it's not, it is, it is not. folks who are not financially business savvy like a guy like you, for example, they mite not know who. who wins in that kind of a give -- >> i thought mitt did a terrific
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job taking issues and keeping them simple, and i hear governor palin's points about specifics. if you try to get into all kinds of detail, you confuse people. frankly, several times tonight, president obama stepped over his words, got confused himself, and i think trying to get into detail, and i think mitt kept it simple, to the point, and made his point that there really are two very different visions for america. one is government control with deficits doubling by the administration, god knows what they would be in the second administration of obama, and i think at the end of the day when they, no matter what the liberal media prints, all of them do these polls of independent voters, and i suspect independent voters have a much advantager, favorable opinion of mitt romney tomorrow morning than they did at dinner time tonight. neil: were you surprised that private capital of which, you know, staples clearly was a
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beneficiary, and bain capital, did not become the big theme that many thought it would tonight? >> well, again, i think this is -- i jim lehrer did a great b scripting this, keeping people on message -- neil: you think he did a great job? i love jim lehrer, but it got out of control. it was me like wrestling my kids. >> he tried. president obama asked about education, was talking about libya and oil and taxes and welfare and all in one sentence from time to time, but i think he did as good as a job as he could keeping it on message. mitt did not let president obama get away with his lies. point by point, he called him on the lies, and, again, because i think if you look at the polls, neil, the issue is mitt's behind. i think mitt's behind because people think he has views and
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positions that he simply does have, and they think that because president obama and his tens of millions of dollars of advertising said he said these things, when, in fact, he doesn't. neil: all right. tom, we're going to a break, guys, but i know snort portman -- senator portman has to leave. i want to get to him before we go to break, the ohio senator, on the short list, not short enough for vice president, but senator portman helped mitt romney for this debate by playing the role of obama; right? >> i did. i did the role four years ago too. neil: you're good at that role. >> yeah, i don't know why. neil: what did you think? did you advise mitt romney to be as much in the president's face or as direct as he was? >> listen, he did a terrific job
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tonight. he was himself. i didn't advise to do one or the other. he is what you saw on the stage tonight, bright, articulate -- neil: this was a different mitt romney i saw tonight. you're a numbers guy, but every time governor romney countered, he did something i know you're a fan of, cite a series of things. one, two, three, first, second, third. >> made the president uncomfortable. neil: right. was that something discussed? we're going to counter every charge with a variety of counterpoints, not in an obnoxious way, but in a lawyerly way? >> look, he prosecuted the case. that's a good way to put it. not just about the last four years and how bad thing are, but what the next four years look like if president obama is re-elected. that's what the undecided voter in ohio looks for. what happens over the next four years? he laid it out, laid out the case, again, not just what's wrong, but what can be right, why we can't afford another four
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years of the past four years and why he's better going forward. he got the chance outside of the media filter to say what his plan's all about. it's easy for president obama and the democrats to run 30-second tv ads saying, you know, this is the romney plan, but it's inaccurate. he had the chance to say, no, that's not my plan, but the plan you want to run against. this is what i want to do, create jobs and economic growth. neil: there was cosmetic things i noticed, always looking at the president. the reason i remember that is because it's unusual, when you attack someone, i noticed in debates, you don't look at the guy you're talking to. in presidential debates, carter was not looking at ford, and ford not looking back at carter very much. is this -- guys you're in the same room. 30 minute power outage, and the two of them at their respective stands, didn't acknowledge the other. >> saw it four years ago too.
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neil: you're right about that. was that by design? did you see, look at the president? we think he's thin skinned? rattle him? >> it's what mitt romney wanted to do. neil: he's not done it to the degree he's done tonight and in the past unless i missed it in >> he did what came natural to him. did a great job, looking at the camera talking directly to the american people, but for the most part, yeah, when talking to president obama, he showed him the republic of looking at him saying, look, this is what you did, why it has not worked -- neil: just the way you are looking at me now. it seemed to rat 8 the president -- rattle the president. >> seemed uncomfortable. neil: when somebody's challenging you, and you're the president, it is an adjustment; right? >> even when jim lehrer, you know, confronted him, he was uncomfortable. neil: right. governor portman, thank you very, very much. >> still a senator, but --
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that would be promotion i think. neil: senator, senator. >> thank you. neil: thank you very much. he was trying not to totally humiliate me there. that was my bad. that's why i delayed the break. i apologize for that. buchanan coming up looking at this, getting more from this concentration of folks who are now selling the performance of this debate, the best way they know how. there's a reason why they call this the spin room. it is spinning. ♪
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neil: i want you to look at this crux of people in spin alley as
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they call it, and i'll chat shortly, a very astute observation that there's more romney people in that throng than there are obama people, and i think she's right. i'm looking at that. that doesn't necessarily mean anything, but if you want to get your people out in force, and you feel good about the job you think your guy did, then it's no trouble for you even to leave the debate early, as many did, rudy juliani was here before the thing finished. the president had his surrogates out there as well. this is a fascinating what i call a right of passage in politickings -- politics and debate history. you watch a debate, how should i feel? did my guy win, the other guy win? the role of the spinners or spin miesters is to say, did you see this? did you see how he reacted to this? did you see how our guy ripped
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through a litany of this? right now, hearing a lot more of that from mitt romney's people, buchanan was in the room shortly saying pretty much that; right? what were you telling reporters and those here about mitt romney? >> that it was an extraordinarily strong performance by the governor. we were all in a room of about 20 #, and we were just ecstatic. at each section, the governor got stronger as he went along. neil: what made it ecstatic for you? >> americans, we want to make certain the americans, tens of millions of people who tuned in, really got a feeling for the kind of leader governor romney is, the kind of person he is. neil: you and others were concerned he was not jazzing it up, not getting in people's faces, conservatives were a little -- >> yeah, and i work -- neil: did he deliver on that? >> so well because, neil, the key here is you want him to run, be respectful of the president, you know, you don't want to go in there and be overly
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aggressive, but you want to be aggressive, challenge the president, pressure him to explain what the plan is because it's not working now. those who tuned in, one, he understands the problems out there. he has a plan to solve them, and he showedded enormous confidence that he understands -- neil: you know, again, you know these debates. i've moderated, been a questioner, and i watch a lot of debates. i've watched the governor closely. he never had a performance like this. you upped the game for the president, but someone got to him and said you got to juice it up, man. >> and he did. he was -- he was superb. i think what he showed is, listen, i'm ready to be the president of the united states. i understand the problems. this is serious. i want to let the president know that he has failed, and he's got to explain to the viewers where we are going, and the president was unable to do that, to explain what his agenda is for four years, and explain why --
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how can he defend all that he's done? the key, i thought, that was interesting is what the governor was able to do is explain the issues as he saw them and why obama's policies had failed and why his proposals were not going to work so that people could see this is a guy who does understand it. he can do it. he can turn this country around, and that's key because, you know -- neil: there was frustration among some -- some, the conservatives and fighting back and forth that mitt romney was losing this, that in the swing states, he was swinging away from this. tomorrow morning -- >> oh -- neil: what do you think? >> it's a game changer. i know friends of mine out there were worried. they will see that this guy -- neil: i take it liberal friends concerned? >> even some conservatives wanted to see some -- a more definitive on policy or tougher
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against obama, and they saw it. he did it in a powerful way, i thought, a way that showed respect for the president, which is important, but at the same time -- neil: do you think the president was rattled? >> i think he was rattled, hesitant, and in the first section, repeated the same answer and timely said to the moderator, jim lehrer, can we have another topic? i had enough. neil: or you took the five seconds. >> exactly. i think the president was weak. he was hesitant. he was unsure of himself. he was repetitive, and he was not able to make and why four more years would be worth it and why it would be better. no question after watching the governor, you know in four years under president romney, things will be far better. neil: all the sniping back and forth stops among conservatives? >> even more, forget the conservatives, they are with us. they ait